Desperadoes Steel Orchestra Celebrated 50 Years


In Trinidad, The Guardian reports that the Desperadoes Steel Orchestra celebrated 50 years of achievement on Friday night at a gala reception held at the House of Angostura, on Eastern Main Road in Laventille.

Hosted by veteran radio personality Phill Simmons, the event was attended by several special guests, veteran pan players and current members of the iconic Laventille steel orchestra including Works and Transport Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, attorney Martin Daly SC, Witco chairman Anthony Phillip, Jean Reid, Danielle Chow, Pan Trinbago presdient Keith Diaz, secretary Richard Forteau and Massy Trinidad All Stars’ Dane Gulston.

As guests arrived at the venue they were welcomed by a prelude of music by the Desperadoes Youth Orchestra led by captain Hakeem O’Brien. In his welcome address, Desperadoes manager Curtis Edwards reminded the gathering that, “Laventille is Desperadoes; Desperadoes is Laventille and Laventille is the rock on which we stand. Together we have had 50 years of achievement.”

Awards were presented in 11 categories with special attention paid to the band’s elders and pioneers, including Winston Archer, Ralph Guildford, Gregory Perrotte, Clyde Thomas and Theresa “May May” Steadman. Eight supporters were also presented with tokens of appreciation, including former national calypso monarchs Bomber (Clifton Ryan) and Karene Ache, footballer George Flemming and Hollis Barker.

The Support Circle Award was presented to Allison Hennessy (posthumous), Roy Cape, Gerald “Slam” Charles, Thomas “Thunderbolt” Williams and five other recipients. The Meritorious Service Award was posthumously bestowed on the late Clive Bradley, Dr Pat Bishop, Frank “Crawl” Findlay, Bertie Marshall and Ralph Mac Donald.

Though formed in the 1940s, Desperadoes won its first National Panorama title in 1966 and giving a comprehensive account of the band’s achievements was insurance executive Victor Copeland. “Desperadoes and the people of Laventille were designed by God for achievement,” said Copeland.

The evening’s programme also included performances by brother and sister pan-playing twins DeJean and Deja Cain, and Desperadoes. [. . .]

[In the photo above, by David Wears, Desperadoes Steel Orchestra captain, Curtis Edwards, left, receives his award for 40 years of service from Desperadoes veteran Ralph Guildford, during the band’s 50th anniversary celebrations.]

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